Managing Career Transitions

Thinking about a career change? Or perhaps that decision has been made for you? It’s a robust labor market, but your next career move may not be immediately apparent when you want it or need it.

Career transitions can take months. How can you make the most of this time? Based on my recent experience, I offer three recommendations:

  1. Reflect: You might be tempted to go with the first opportunity you see–but you’ll be better served if you think about what you really want to do, and how it fits into your long-term career goals.

At the start of my transition, I was feeling burned out, and struggled to identify my top skills and strengths.  So, I tapped former colleagues to get their perspective. I also went through old performance reviews to help me recall what I had accomplished, and see how I grew over time. Those activities helped me assess what I liked best about my work, think about what I wanted to do next, and prepare me to tell my story to others.

  1. Connect: The more conversations you have, the closer you get to finding what you’re looking for.

I started my networking by reaching out to my IABC colleagues (thank you!), and then met lots of new people in different industries and roles. It was fun to build this extended network, and I got a lot of great perspectives on the various options I was considering. I also connected with other job seekers–communicators and people from many different fields–to share strategies, tips and contacts. Having a supportive community in a time of change is really helpful.

  1. Breathe: Transitions are emotional roller coasters. You have to be nice to yourself.

The trick is to find what works for you to manage your stress, and keep doing it. This is harder to do if you’re working while seeking your next opportunity. But if you find yourself out of the workforce suddenly, like me, then there’s really no excuse. Nobody gets a job by being on the computer 8 hours a day.  I leaned on meditation, walks outside and creative projects. I kept up a regular exercise routine–but yes, occasionally, I let myself sleep in.

After dozens of networking conversations, I was able to make an educated decision to focus on one particular direction. In November, I started a new job. And you know what? I feel refreshed and excited about what I’m going to do.

I hope that those of you considering a change, or in the midst of one, have the same kind of result. Feel free to reach out and network with me. And good luck!

By Jodi Freedman, ABC – IABC Boston Member

Jodi Freedman, ABC is a strategic communications leader with deep experience in internal communications. She recently joined Brigham & Women’s Hospital as Manager, Enterprise Communication. Previously she worked at Bose Corporation and Harvard University. Jodi earned her Masters in Communications from Emerson College. She is a Melcrum Internal Communication Black Belt Partner and Prosci Certified Change Practitioner. She actively volunteers with IABC as well as two non-profit community organizations. She lives in the Greater Boston area with her husband and two teenagers.